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tv   News 4 Today at 5  NBC  December 30, 2011 5:00am-6:00am EST

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a.m. good morning, everyone. i'm chris gordon. >> and i'm eun yang. welcome to "news 4 today" for this friday, december 30th, 2011. we are counting down the last few days of 2011, and it is a chilly start. a few more nice days we're going to get in before the big cold snap. we're going to enjoy it, veronica. >> definitely enjoy it. that's the way we'll be shutting down the year. in fact, even the first day of 2012 is going to be really nice. you know what, while all this nice is going on here, winter's brewing, getting its act together, then whammy. >> ski slopes in our area are hungry for this. >> a lot of them still closed. even the ones that are open, only a third to a half of the actual slopes are open. >> with long lines. >> exactly. but they'll be able to make some snow starting monday night, tuesday of next week. 36 our temperature currently. 29 degree dewpoint. that dewpoint was low yesterday,
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but enough vigor in the atmosphere to give us some flurries. today dry, at least during the daylight hours. 28 in gaithersburg. 27 warrenton. 26 degrees in waldorf, maryland. temperatures will rise to the low 40s by 9:00 a.m. by noontime today, 52 degrees the temperature with a high of a5 4 degrees today. we will have again a partly sunny sky today. mostly cloudy. after midnight, we do have a chance to get a few sprinkle or a flurry or two around the area, mainly north of the area as a cold front comes on through. as that cold front comes on through, it's not going to be a strong front. even tomorrow against saturday and sunday, we'll have highs in the 50s. carol? >> thanks, veronica and everybody. if you're just waking up, no delays around the area roads. taking a look at 270 as you make your way from clarksburg to gaithersbu gaithersburg, over at father hurley boulevard, a little volume but absolutely no delays. just a construction note,
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southbound colesville road between bonifant and silver spring avenue, only the left lane is getting you by. >> carol, thank you. a developing story in the district where police are investigating a stabbing at a nightclub. it happened before 2:00 this morning in the 1300 block of ninth street in northwest. so far police are releasing few details. we don't know how many people are involved or how seriously the victim was injured. we'll bring you more updates on this story throughout the morning as they become available. we are following another developing story in silver spring. at least one person was hurt in a motorcycle crash on the outer loop overnight. this is near the university boulevard exit. the victim's name and condition has not been released. the cause of the crash is under investigation. a police chase in maryland ends in a crash in d.c. you first saw this breaking news on news 4 at 11:00. the chase ended at the
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intersection of east capitol street and benning road in southeast washington. police say they spotted a car wanted in connection with several robberies at 7-eleven convenience stores in prince george's county. when officers tried to pull the car over in oxon hill, the driver took off for the district. officers caught up with the vehicle in southeast where the driver rammed into a police cruiser, and both cars crashed. all three suspects inside the vehicle then took off. police eventually caught up with one of them and arrested him. his name has not been released. this morning we've learned that two young women killed in a horrible crash yesterday were on their way home from a birthday party. dozens of teenagers and family members gathered at the scene of the crash last night. 19-year-old tamara johnson and 22-year-old janice richards were killed when the suv they were riding in slammed into a brick wall in front of a home on university boulevard. friends reflected on two lives cut short. >> whoever didn't get the chance
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to say what they need to say to her, this is the perfect time. she's still listening even though she's not here. >> we were very close friends, but we fell off, and i kind of feel bad because i never really said sorry before she left. >> 18-year-old deselene james who was riding in the passenger seat, remains in the hospital with serious injuries. police are trying to determine if speed or alcohol were factors in the crash. police say the driver of a pickup truck that caused a metro bus crash was delivering a pizza. 49-year-old man was killed wednesday morning when his truck crossed the median and crashed. that caused a metro bus to swerve and hit a tree. the driver is still in the hospital. he was delivering pizza to the national institutes of health at the time of the crash. relatives say it was a second job. investigators are still studying the video from the bus,
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reportedly showing the accident. today d.c. firblofficials w announce they've made major development ins fighting crime. the city is on course for its lowest homicide rate in 50 years. as of today, there have been 108 homicides, the lowest since the early 1960s. that's a far cry from 1991, where there were 479 homicides. d.c. mayor vincent gray and police chief cathy lanier say the dramatic drop in murders is, in part, due to what they call community policing as well as strong leadership in traditionally more violent neighborhoods. the activists who are on a hunger strike for d.c. voting rights will launch an online petition today. they hope to get one signature for every resident in d.c., which is roughly 618,000. they are also proposing a new one cent tax on bottled water that would fund a full-time lobbyist for the district. artists and occupy d.c. protester adrian parsons has
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been consuming only electrolyte enhanced water and vitamins for three weeks now. a few others fasted for shorter periods. a federal judge has ruled that d.c. must pay more than $1 million as a result of a court case over guns in the district. in 2003 dick heller sued the city saying a ban on owning guns was unconstitutional. five years later the supreme court agreed ruling the ban violated the second amendment. the $1 million will pay for heller's lawyers fees. now d.c. residents are allowed to own guns, but there are strict registration requirements. two gop candidates who failed to make virginia's primary ballot are heading to court over that decision. an attorney and tea party activist has filed the lawsuit on behalf of newt gingrich. jonathan mosley filed the suit yesterday, contending that gingrich met the requirement for 10,000 signatures and that some of them were improperly
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excluded. mosley says he's acting independently and that gingrich has not yet joined the suit. the gingrich campaign said, if they believe a campaign worker turned in false signatures, forcing them to be kept off the ba ballot. and the preliminary hearing has been set in texas, governor perry's lawsuit in virginia. perry had tried to file an emergency motion to stop the state from printing ballots without his name on it, but the judge denied it. perry argues that virginia's ballot requirements are, quote, overly burdensome and unconstitutional and that they prevented him from collecting the necessary signatures. >> with the iowa caucuses just four days away, mitt romney is focusing on the state he has ignored most of his campaign. romney, who has stayed away from iowa until now, is now storming the state. the change in strategy comes with rising poll numbers, placing him as a front-runner in the first contest in the country, and now romney is
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claiming that iowans may ultimately determine who wins the nomination. >> so look at the candidates, decide who you like, and decide who also can become president and can lead the country at a time of challenge. >> ron paul is likely to challenge romney for first, but rick santorum has also surged recently, especially among social conservatives. governor bob mcdonnell approved new rules to regulate virginia abortion clinics like hospitals. the new rules treat abortion clinics like surgery centers. now, in the past, the state's 22 clinics were treated like doctors or dentists offices. but now abortion clinics must meet hospital type standards that includes regulating the size of exam rooms and the width of hallways. anti-abortion advocates say the changes will make the clinics safer for women. pro choice activists say the regulations can cause clinics to close. bad news for thousands of
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verizon customers. the new fee that
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time now 5:11. meteorologist veronica johnson. let's take a look around the area. we're starting around 30 degrees in bowie, maryland. clinton, good morning to you, 35 degrees. bethesda and aspen hill at 32. germantown at 28 degrees. alexandria, you are currently coming in with a temperature of 34 degrees. by 9:00 a.m., we're into the 40s. around 40 to 41 degrees. noontime today, 52. we are going for a high today of 54 degrees. under a partly sunny sky. we'll get more clouds late during the overnight period. i think after midnight we could
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have a little sprinkle, maybe a flurry, but fine weather as we wrap up 2011. carol? >> thanks, veronica. on this new year's eve weekend as you start your friday morning, things are relatively quiet around the area. 95 and the bw parkway clear. let's take a look at 95 south of 100. volume is increasing, but you're moving very well. and as we move into virginia, 95 and fairfax county parkway, absolutely no obstacles in your way. chris, eun. >> carol, thank you. ahead on "news 4 today," they're some of the most daring rescues of the year. how you can help the coast guard
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welcome back. a blind man missing was last seen in new jersey. police say he got off the train in charlotte, north carolina, but never arrived in alabama. a new jersey police officer helped smith, who is legally blind, into a cab a few days ago. detectives in new jersey are investigating where smith went during that time, and police in charlotte have closed the case. a lot of verizon wireless customers are very unhappy this morning about a new policy the company announced. starting january 15th, verizon will charge customers $2 a month to pay their bills online or over the phone. verizon claims it's simply passing on fees that credit card companies charge on each transaction. customers say it doesn't matter. the fee is just not right. >> $2 is a lot when it sums up through the years. >> if there's extra money getting charged on your bill, whatever you're paying for,
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you're going to get people to be on your bad side. >> it feels like a penalty to me. >> it's very shocking. >> the fee will not apply to anyone who uses verizon's auto bill pay system or anyone who pays through online banking from their own personal checking account. it will also not apply to anyone who pays as a verizon store or anyone who decides to do things the old fashioned way and puts a check in the mail. the planned world trade center museum in new york city has been put on hold because of a funding dispute. the foundation in charge of the project and the port authority of new york and new jersey can't agree on who will pay for the museum. the museum is set to open next september 11th. but now mayor michael bloomberg said it won't be completed on time. the memorial portion opened just three months ago and has already gotten 1 million visitors. the obama administration's top diplomat for asia is heading to china, south korea, and japan. curt campbell of the state
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department will meet with leaders from those three countries to discuss developments in north korea following the death of kim jong-il. campbell is the most senior u.s. official to visit the region since kim's passing last week. meanwhile, north korea says they will not make any changes for its defense strategy or foreign policy now that kim jong-un has taken power. north korea's national defense commission said no matter who is the leader of their country, they will never deal with south korea's president while he's in power. the official warning for kim jong-il has ended, and officials are rallied around his son, kim jong-un, declaring him the supreme leader. today in syria protesters are trying to organize giant demonstrations to show arab league officials just how bad things are in their country. yesterday government forces opened fire on protesters, killing at least 25 and injuring at least 100 more. demonstrators are upset with the arab league monitors saying they
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seem unsympathetic to the situation. since the citizen uprising in march, the united nations estimates that 5,000 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters. the first list of sears and kmart stores closing does not include any in the d.c. area. the closest is a grand essentials store in maryland. sears holdings announced earlier this week they would be closing more than 100 sears and kmart stores nationwide after poor holiday sales. the first list included 79 of those stores. right now new york city is preparing to make sure that new year's eve, the celebration in times square, goes off without a hitch. today crews will test the new year's eve ball. workers placed the final panels on it on tuesday. balls covered with some 2,600 waterford ccrystals. during today's tests, workers will make sure the ball will light up properly. with the new year comes new laws, and that means you'll be
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paying more at the grocery store and on the roads. a 5 cent bag tax will take place new year's day. it is modeled after the one implemented in the district two years ago. the tax, which was implemented in may, will apply to paper and plastic bags and is expected to raise $1 million in revenue, which will be used for water and litter cleanup. so bring the reusable bags. and tolls at the main toll plaza are going up 25 cents on new year's day. that means it will cost $1.50 for most vehicles. tolls on the on and off ramps, though, will remain the same. the new revenue will be used to help fund the dulles rail project. time vis running out in the year 2011. that means time is also running out if you want to make charitable donations. to get your tax breaks for this calendar year. whether it's bags of clothing, furniture, or even cars, the rush to make end of year donations is in full force. for some who donate, the rush is all about making a dropoff in
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time to take advantage of the 2011 tax deductions. others are motivated more by a desire to help those less fortunate and to do a little house cleaning. >> cleaning out the house, it's tax donation time. like i said, trying to do a good thing too. >> we just moved down here and decided to make a donation. we're cleaning out our house. decided to come right over. >> i'm just donating a lot of things, probably help some disadvantaged people. >> the end of year donations are important because the next few months represent the slowest time for donations. better business bureau is the place to go. we've posted a link on our website, nbcwashington.com, just search charity donations. >> so running out of time. now's the time to do it. >> saturday would be the last day. >> saturday last day. 5:21. time for weather and traffic on the ones. our meteorologist veronica johnson is here. i love the way this weekend looks. you know what, we're just going to end it on a good note.
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>> yeah. i said a lot of folks would be able to walk around with a very light jacket, maybe not even a jacket at all. that's what we do. us ladies with our party dresses on. 40 degrees around midnight. there's the snow from yesterday, the little flurries coming through the northern counties, just north of d.c., frederick county and loudoun county. you can see we're dry right now, even off to the west. the nearest showers. those are rain showers in kentucky. the wind is light. in terms of temperatures throughout the area, better than yesterday. the weather is 37 degrees down in fredericksburg, virginia. today more sunshine. it is going to be warmer. we're going to see this area of low pressure movie through durig the overnight. we'll be left with a partly sunny day. it is going to be breezy tomorrow too. breezy but check out the high temperature. 58 degrees for saturday. that's after starting out between 35 and 40. so dry for the weekend, all through the weekend, including again at midnight.
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and then for monday, the high 45. it is going to be windy, and i think monday morning, might even see lake effect snow showers. that's right. we could. then cold for tuesday and wednesday. >> thanks, veronica. no snow hours showers this morning. on the beltway, nothing to maneuver around. 495 at 270 spur, your fellow commuters are joining you but no delays. 495 at robinson terminal moving well. and a note, all the rails -- marc, vre, and metro -- on time this morning. chris, eun? >> carol, thank you. we have more on that. today metro will be running extra trains this afternoon to help commuters leaving work early for the holiday weekend. metro says it will be open its normal hours this weekend. on new year's eve metro trains will run from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. on new year's day trains will
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run from 7:00 a.m. to midnight. there's also a few scheduling changes on the marc train today. on the brunswick line the train leaving union station at 2:40 this afternoon will stop at silver spring, rockville, germantown, point of rocks, brunswick, and the west virginia stations. the 4:55 p.m. departure is cancelled. the 5:40 p.m. train will leave at 6:00. on the camden line, there will be a 2:00 p.m. departure from union station making all stops to camden yards. the 5:51 train is cancelled. on the penn line, extra trains will leave union station at 2:50, making all stops to perryville. the 5:25 train will be leaving at 5:50. to make sure you get home safely this new year's eve, a local nonprofit wants to give you a free ride home. the washington regional alcohol program has brought back the sober ride program this year. it goes each night until january 1st from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. you can get a free ride, up to a $30 fare.
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just call 1-800-200-taxi to get your free cab ride. despite two disappointing seasons, mike shanahan says there's no doubt he'll be back as head coach of the redskins next year. right now shanahan is 11-20. he needs to win this sunday to match predecessor jim zorn's record over two seasons. shanahan reportedly told owner dan snyder, quote, if you don't plan on me coaching here five years, you're hiring the wrong guy. it's going to take some time to do it right. that's the end of the quote. skins finish up the 2011 season on sunday against the philadelphia eagles. they are some of the most fearless men and women out there. members of the u.s. coast guard. >> but now some of them are becoming youtube stars. the coast guard has released its top ten rescue videos. part of it is to show people the daring rescues of people and their pets, letting them see the rescues up close and personal. but it's also part of an
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initiation for the coast guard's newest members, giving them a preview of what they're in for. >> to actually see what awaits us out there, it's like i want to graduate already and be there. >> i was a little taken aback, actually, about how much work actually goes into it. >> you can help decide the coast guard's top rescue videos of 2011. just go to their facebook page or youtube channel to vote. >> they all look very daring. you know these are all true brave men and women because, when they see the video, instead of saying i want to run away, they're like i'm going to get in there. >> i'm a scuba diver. >> are you really? >> but jumping out of a helicopter into icy cold waters, that takes guts. hats off to you. a developing story out of russia. a nuclear submarine that had a nuclear submarine that had been on fire with some of the m,
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good morning to you. i'm eun yang. >> and i'm chris gordon in for joe krebs. welcome to "news 4 today" this friday, december 30th. let's take a look at our skyline. it looks beautiful. visibility is great. mild weather. veronica's got it all. >> she really does. not only that. look at you, gorgeous. >> all that good stuff. so you want me to stay on this shift. well, we are talking about some nice weather for the next couple of days. maybe that's why you guys like me so much. as far as this morning goes, a little better start for us. temperatures are up by about five degrees through the area. that's enough to take the edge off. 36 degrees right now with a very light wind. only at 3 miles per hour. as far as cloud cover overhead, it's been quite starry, but i'm
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noticing some clouds moving in from south to north. again, the bulk of the day, partly sunny. we're at 28 degrees right now to the north. takoma park at 36. on the other side, 36 too in riverdale, prince george's county, and herndon coming in at 34 degrees. so early good morning to you. we're going to hit a high today of 54 degrees. but lunchtime, i think we'll already be at 52. and then back down the other side heading into the 40s for your evening and after midnight. slight chance that we could see a little bit of a sprinkle, maybe even a flurry. same counties that had those yesterday, up around frederick, gaithersburg, leesburg too, and hagerstown. a cold front that will be moving through. there's your snapshot of today with a high between 50 and 55 degrees. carol? >> yes, we like you. we really, really like you. nice weather and nice traffic for this last friday of 2011. look at this all around the area. d.c., maryland, and virginia just smooth sailing. on the icc west of 95, you don't even see anybody out there yet
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this morning. moving into virginia, 66 outside the beltway at 28, picking up a little volume. nothing in your way. chris, eun, back to you. >> thank you, carol. the first gop contest of decision 2012 is quickly approaching, and republican candidates are scrambling to boost their image and chances of a victory. right now mitt romney and ron paul are atop the polls, but undecided iowans are ensuring that this race will go down to the wire. nbc's brian mooar joins us live from capitol hill with more. brian, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, eun. those candidates are battling away on the ground and stepping up the air war. we're coming on the 100-hour mark this morning, and candidates are trying to make their final influence on voters in iowa. right now romney is in a strong position. he does have a shot at winning iowa if -- and that is a big if -- if he can convince the social conservatives there that he is conservative enough.
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rick santorum has been gaining some ground. rick perry desperately trying to get it back. newt gingrich is looking past iowa at this point to new hampshire and south carolina, hoping that he can begin his war there. jon huntsman has given up on iowa as well. he is in new hampshire, hoping that a little quality time with the voters there and trying to make some inroads, he believes the people of new hampshire are open to an underdog. one thing ron paul is not right now is an underdog. he's in second in a strong position with a very, very well organized ground campaign. he could take this, eun. right now it's unpredictable. the undecideds still shopping around. >> very tight race indeed. brian mooar live on capitol hill this morning. brian, thank you. happy new year. >> you too. a newt gingrich supporters is taking the candidates'
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inability to get on the ballot in virginia to court. he contends that gingrich met the requirement for 10,000 signatures and that some of them were improperly excluded. mosley says he's acting independently and that gingrich has not yet joined the suit. the gingrich campaign says they believe a campaign worker turned in false signatures, forcing them to be kept off the ballot. meanwhile, a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for january 13th. in texas governor rick perry's lawsuit against virginia. the suit was filed on tuesday. perry tried to file an emergency motion to stop the state from printing ballots without his name on it, but the judge denied it. perry argues that virginia's ballot requirements are, quote, overly burdensome and unconstitutional. and that they prevented him from collecting the necessary signatures. now to a developing story out of russia. fire crews have put out a fire on a nuclear submarine while crew members were still inside.
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the fire broke out yesterday and engulfed the sub's outer hull. officials say the nuclear reactor was shut down and there were no major injuries. but nine people were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. there's no word on whether the crew still inside the sub is trapped or if they were ordered to stay inside. president obama took time out of his christmas vacation in hawaii to pay his respects to the victims of pearl harbor. yesterday the president and first lady visited the "uss arizona" memorial at pearl harbor. mr. obama laid a wreath at the memorial, which honors more than 2,300 americans who died in the attacks. after a moment of silence, mr. and mrs. obama scattered white, yellow, and purple flower petals into the water below. this month marked the 70th anniversary of the japanese attacks on pearl harbor. the obama administration is hoping to restart talks with the taliban to help reach a peace agreement. the two sides were close to an agreement but objections by
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afghan president hamid karzai scrubbed the deal. the u.s. has agreed to release five afghan prisoners affiliated with the taliban from guantanamo bay while top ranking taliban officials agreed to try and cut ties with al qaeda. 5:35 now. the activists who are on a hunger strike for d.c. voting rights will launch an online petition today. they hope to get one signature for every resident in d.c., which is roughly 618,000. they're also proposing a new one cent tax on bottled water that would fund a full-time lobbyist for the district. artists and occupy d.c. protester adrian parsons has been consuming only electrolyte enhanced water and vitamins for three weeks now. a few others fasted for shorter periods. new from overnight, police in the district are investigating a stabbing at a nightclub. it happened before 2:00 this morning in the 1300 block of ninth street in northwest.
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one man was stabbed, but his injuries are not life-threatening. we don't know what led to the stabbing or if a suspect has been identified. we'll bring you updates on this story throughout the morning as they become available. 911 operators can be the difference between life and death. in prince george's county, the 911 call center has been bogged down you by an onslaught of nonemergency calls. >> you want to call who? >> i want to call the water department. there's no water at this location. because of calls like that one, the call center now has a new nonemergency number with a light system to help direct calls faster. green means true emergency. yellow means trouble but not an emergency. >> by getting those calls, to serve the citizens better. two, to reduce the call volume in here. then those precious seconds are then available for 911 calls. >> the current nonemergency
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number for prince george's county is 301-352-1200. county officials are also hoping to adopt a three-digit number like 311 for nonemergency calls in the future. those are crucial minutes you waste dealing with these ridiculous calls. >> that's the thing. they're overburdened. >> they really are. it is now 5:38. 38 degrees. ahead on "news 4 today," a bold statement from hugo chavez. the bizarre allegation
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it's 5:41 right now. we're starting out below freezing. with the limited moisture we did pick up yesterday. flurry, sprinkles, it could be good enough to have frozen overnight to give us icy patches around the area. very spotty, though. 28 in gaithersburg. 27 in leesburg and manassas. 27 degrees in virginia. still up some three degrees from yesterday. ft. belvoir at 28. greenbelt and anacostia coming in now at 36 degrees. we are going to be heading up into the 40s shortly after 9:00
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a.m. today. sky cover, turping over to partly cloudy. partly sunny day, mostly cloudy by 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. we'll max out in the low and mid-50s. after midnight, as we drop into the low 40s, chance for a sprinkle. areas north could be cold enough, especially in the upper atmosphere, to give us maybe a flurry like yesterday. i don't think it's going to be as much as we had yesterday. let's head over to carol and see what's going on with traffic. it's a quiet morning, still in the dark, no accidents or incidents in the way. volume a little bit lighter today. as you can see, 95 to 395, so far, so good. maybe folks are leaving early today. maybe they're not even working today, and they're just taking the day off. 95 north of the occoquan heading up 395 to edsall road, things are looking just fine. as you continue on 395 to the 14th street bridge, nothing in your way. back to you, chris and eun. >> i think it's going to be a light day, carol. thanks so much. >> thank you very much.
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good news. it's 5:42 right now. these are among the most overused and useless words of the year. coming up, the
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the word is swapportunity. can i have the definition? swapportunity: the opportunity to swap a higher calorie snack for a yoplait light. can you use it in a sentence? mmm. swapping a 300 calorie donut for this 110 calorie strawberry shortcake is a good swapportunity. that's not a real word. oh haha it's real. [ female announcer ] delicious, creamy, yoplait light. over 30 flavors each around 100 calories. do the swap today.
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welcome back at 5:46. police in new jersey say they've spotted a blind man that's been missing for two weeks. mitchell smith was last seen taking a train from d.c. to birmingham, alabama. police say he got off the train in charlotte, north carolina, but never arrived in alabama. a new jersey police officer helped smith, who is legally blind, into a cab a few days ago. detectives in new jersey are investigating where smith went during that time. the police in charlotte have
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closed the missing person case. today d.c. officials will announce major progress in reducing violent crime. the district is set to have its lowest homicide rate in nearly 50 years. right now there have been 108 homicides, the lowest since the early 1960s. that's a far cry from 1991, where there were 479 homicides. d.c. mayor vincent gray and police chief cathy lanier say the dramatic drop in murders is in part due to what they call community policing as well as strong leadership in traditionally more violent neighborhoods. d.c. will have to shell out more than $1 million as a result of a supreme court case over guns in the district. in 2003, dick heller sued the city, saying that the ban on owning guns was unconstitutional. five years later, the supreme court agreed, ruling the ban violated the second amendment. well, yesterday a federal judge awarded heller's lawyers more
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than $1 million for fees and expenses. d.c. law now allows people to own guns, but there are strict registration requirements. a lot of verizon wireless customers are very unhappy this morning about a new policy the company just announced. starting january 15th, verizon will charge customers $2 a month to pay their bills online or over the phone. verizon claims it is simply passing on the fees that credit card companies charge on each transaction. customers say it doesn't matter the fee. it's just not right. >> $2 is a lot when it sums up through the years. >> if there's extra money getting charged on your bill or whatever you're paying for, you're going to get people on your bad side. >> it feels like a penalty to me. >> it's very shocking. >> the fee will not apply to anyone who uses verizon's auto bill pay system or anyone who pays through online banking from their own personal checking account. it will also not apply to anyone who pays at verizon stores or anyone who does it the old fashioned way and just puts a check in the mail.
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despite the presence of arab league officials, protesters in syria are calling for even larger demonstrations today. at least 25 people were killed yesterday by government forces who opened fire on protesters. demonstrators are upset with the arab league monitors, saying they seem unsympathetic to their situation. since the citizen uprising in march, the united nations estimates that 5,000 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters. the obama administration is denouncing venezuelan president hugo chavez this morning after he questioned whether the u.s. may be behind a rash of cancer among latin american leaders. during a televised speech to the country's military, chavez said that he would not be surprised if america developed a way to induce cancer. he said he had no proof but was just thinking aloud. chavez, along with the leaders of argentina, brazil, and paraguay, have all recently been
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fighting cancer. the first list of sears and kmart stores closing does not include any in the d.c. area. the closest is a grand essentials store in maryland. sears holdings announced earlier this week they would be closing more than 100 sears and kmart stores nationwide after poor holiday sales. the first list included 79 of those stores. right now new york city is preparing to make sure the new year's eve celebration in times square goes off without a hitch. today crews will test the new year's eve ball. workers place the final panels on tuesday. the ball is covered with 2,600 waterford crystals. during today's tests, workers will make sure the ball will light up properly. that's crucial. with the new year comes new laws. that means you'll be paying more at the grocery store and on the roads. in montgomery county, a 5 cent bag tax will take effect new year's day. it's modeled after the one implemented in the district two years ago. the tax, which was approved in may, will apply to both paper and plastic bags and is expected
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to raise at least $1 million in revenue, which will be used for water and litter cleanup. and you'll need to carry a little extra change to use the dulles toll road in 2012. tolls at the main toll plaza are going up 20 cents on new year's day. that means it will cost $1.50 for most vehicles. tolls at the on and off-ramps, however, will remain the same. the new revenue will be used to help fund the dulles rail project. 5:51 is our time. 38 degrees. chilly now. we're looking forward to really nice weather to end the year. >> yes. and it is going to be nice the end of the year. i just got a tweet from a young lady in frederick, maryland. she was out taking her dog out looking around. she said the cars look like they're in a freezer. so frosty in some spots. >> not scrapable frost. >> it didn't sound like it was scrapable frost. i can't imagine that. our temperatures haven't been that cold for that many hours during the overnight period. so we are, in fact, starting
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out three to five degrees higher than we were yesterday, the temperature. i think we're doing okay. light wind 2 to 3 miles per hour. we're at 36 degrees right now in d.c. and off to the west, unlike yesterday, where that moisture was a little closer to us. right now the showers, pretty far out. they're in ohio and kentucky advancing eastward. this is all part of the next weather system coming through the area. it's going to be racing eastward, friday night tonight and saturday morning. you can see chicago right now getting ready to get hit with heavier rain. that snow slightly further back into minnesota right now. so there's the area of low pressure. it will make its way very quickly through the east for our area today. partly sunny. and it's going to be warmer. low and mid-50s for us. there goes the front right through the area, early part of tomorrow morning. we're going to see a clearing sky, partly sunny, maybe even mostly sunny for counties down to the south.
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and then breezy too with a westerly wind that will be coming through. okay, hey, we're talking about highs, again, in the 50s for tomorrow. as well as on sunday too. we'll have highs in the 50s. so mild afternoon, 52 to 56 degrees. let's take a look at your evening forecast. could get a sprinkle, maybe a flurry. especially north and west with that system that comes through overnight. the temperatures will drop right on down to the 30s, 34 to about 40 degrees during the overnight period. so there we go. back out of the way so you can see the four-day forecast. really nice conditions this weekend. just a few clouds around. dry conditions at the stroke of midnight. your temperature about 40 to 42 degrees at midnight as we ring in 2012. meanwhile, monday right now. 45 degrees. we'll have a couple of systems coming off the lakes. in fact, with windy conditions on monday. maybe strong enough to pull down some of that snow from points northward, maybe an early morning flurry on monday. high 45, but chilly with the
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wind. real cold for tuesday and wednesday. starting out 20 to 25 degrees each day. with highs 33 to 37, and that is indeed cold. our coldest stretch for much of the east. carol? >> thank you, veronica. good morning, everybody. if you're just joining us. we have a new problem westbound route 7 past columbia pike past the baileys crossroads area, an accident blocking all lanes. let's get a check on the douglass bridge, moving along just fine. heading along to the sousa bridge, no problems. on the american legion bridge, moving. volume is increasing but no obstacles. thank goodness. chris, eun, back to you. >> carol, thank you. weather is partly to blame
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for causing a 40-car pileup in louisiana. officials say it was foggy when the accident occurred. if your home suffered damage in september's tropical storm, you're running out of time to apply for a low interest government loan. the money for repairs is offered by the small business administration until january 13th. tropical storm lee blew through our area september 8th and 9th on the heels of the remnants of hurricane irene. flooding from the storms took four lives in northern virginia. more virginia residents are now eligible for assistance for damage caused in this summer's east coast quake. fema says home and business owners in five additional counties are now able to receive federal disaster aid. they include culpeper, fluvanna, goochland, orange, and spotsylvania counties as well as the city of fredericksburg. louisa county, where the 5.8 magnitude quake was centered, was already approved for aid. more information on how to apply
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for help. just visit our website, nbcwashington.com, and search "earthquake." some people in northern virginia were having flashbacks of that quake after they felt their houses shake yesterday. the rumbling came from explosives training at the marine corps base in quantico. that training has been going on the whole month. yesterday it was different. people heard a loud boom, and for many, the shaking was so strong it revived the memories of that rare quake that shook the whole region four months ago. >> all of a sudden, it just was like a huge rumble that was so loud. i just remember getting up off the couch. >> experts believe that explosion was felt today because of the overcast conditions. the last earthquake reported in virginia was very early on christmas eve. it was a 2.0 quake near mineral. well, admit it, you've said or heard too many words like
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occupy one too many times this year. here's a chance to erase those words from your vocabulary. late lake superior state university has released the words banished from the queen's english for misuse, overuse, and general uselessness. some of the words the school said should be banned, occupy, amazing, ginormous, baby bump, and man cave. this annual list started in 1976 as a publicity stunt and has since then generated thousands of nominations. >> what do you think? >> far out. >> now that shouldn't be banned. i like that. >> two generations back. it's 5:57. 37 degrees. ahead, two professors in
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